India's decision to not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement reflects its assessment on the current global situation as well as the fairness and balance of the agreement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Monday, adding that the country had "significant issues of core interest that remained unresolved".
Briefing media persons shortly after the major development on the RCEP, Secretary (East) in the MEA Vijay Thakur Singh said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while speaking on India's decision, highlighted that he was guided by the impact it would have on the lives and livelihood of all Indians, especially the vulnerable sections of the society.
"India conveyed its decision at the summit to not join the RCEP agreement. This reflects both our assessment of the current global situation, as well as the fairness and balance of the agreement," said Singh.
"India had significant issues of core interest that remain unresolved," she added.
Singh noted that India has participated in good faith in the RCEP discussion and has negotiated hard with "a clear-eyed view of our interests."
"In the given circumstances, we believe that not joining the agreement is the right decision for India. We would continue to persevere in strengthening our trade, investment, and people to people relations with this region."
To the repeated queries from the journalists as to whether India would ever join the RCEP, Singh reiterated, "India has conveyed its decision to not join the RCEP agreement."
The Prime Minister had said earlier that India remains committed to a comprehensive and balanced outcome of RCEP negotiations and seeks balance across goods, services and investments and also within each pillar.
RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of ASEAN and six FTA partners.